Defining How You Want To Lead

Stepping up to lead isn’t easy. Knowing the outcome of that step is even harder. Beyond all that, trying to figure out who you are as a leader and how you want to be seen, known and heard can feel like a little bit too much to compute.

If you’ve ever felt this way, I have good news for you. You’re right. And you’re not alone in feeling this way. Every leader has a moment when they need to determine what their imprint looks like and when that time comes, there are some things you need to consider about how you will define yours.

What calls to you naturally?

It’s important for this process for you to know that you aren’t going to be the only person who leads and influences others. It is ok to not be across every base. It is ok to not be the champion of every cause. The power of your leadership is tied to the power of your uniqueness and how willing you are to bring your authentic self to the table. What are your passions? What are the things you care about? What brings you joy? What do you desperately want to change? These questions aren’t always straight-forward to answer but they are a step in the right direction to uncovering the legacy of your leadership on yourself and those around you.

Ground it in the here and now.

Let’s step away from the future for a moment and set our sights on the present. Having the vision of your leadership’s impact is awesome but we won’t get there if we can’t figure out how we lead on a day-to-day basis. So to look at this, we shift our focus inwards. We need to consider questions like: How do I interact with the people I care about? What is it about the people I follow that I admire or makes me want to follow them? What are my strengths? What am I good at? What do I stand for and how can I bring more of those values into my day-to-day interactions? These questions exist to make us take a good look at who we are surrounding ourselves with and begin to think about if our interactions with our people are actually up to the level we want them to be. As leaders, our words and actions set a standard for people around us and if we aren’t living by what we stand for and actively making a choice to build relationships in a meaningful way – the standard we are setting likely doesn’t lead us to the legacy we want to leave behind.

Develop the foundations for successful leadership

On the journey of stepping into our leadership we can sometimes feel a lot of weight has been put onto us and now we have to carry it wherever we go. Though a part of this is true, we also need to start putting the right foundations around us to make sure that the journey of defining ourselves as leaders doesn’t harm us more than help us. We all feel burnout, we all experience those days where you just can’t get anything to happen the way you want it to. When we experience these days, we need the networks of people around us and the internal awareness to also know that we might need to spend some time shaping up our own wellbeing and getting ourselves back to a place of being well and ready. So take a moment to think about what brings you energy and what drains your energy. Maybe you prefer to spend some time alone to recover after a big week. Maybe you like to hang out with your friends. Maybe you need to shake up your routine and try something new. Maybe you need to go back to something that feels a bit more comfortable. There are no right or wrong answers on how to best find your wellbeing. It is most important that you are just aware of what you need and intentionally finding time to actually let that process happen.

In a nutshell, defining how we lead is hard but when we break it down to understanding where we are going, who we are right now, and what we need to take with us for the journey – we set ourselves up with a unique understanding of what it means to bring our full, authentic self to the table. 

As leaders, being our full authentic self is one of the most powerful things we can do.

Start building your young person’s leadership foundation today.

Burn Bright has worked with over 75,000 young people across Australia and New Zealand to develop their sense of leadership and influence, and continue building on their potential.

If you are looking for ways to empower leadership in your young people, click here to get a free downloadable resource that has 5 actionable ways to empower your young person to lead.



Continue your student’s leadership or wellbeing journey with our digital programs. Specifically designed to be flexibly implemented into your wellbeing or leadership programs, these courses can be completed at any time in any place, providing a self-paced option for students to explore in class or on their own. These modules include individual student logins, a teacher dashboard to track student progress and lesson plans with follow up face to face resources.

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Facilitator in Laptop Screen

I found Burn Bright in the midst of studying civil engineering at the University of Wollongong, just as I wanted a richer, deeper, more full experience of life.

Through Burn Bright, I have met many students and volunteers who are all seeking to find their place in the world. When we come together at NLC or SLC, no matter our age, we begin on the same page, of wanting to do good for ourselves, our community, and the world. And then we are thrown into a program that brings us closer to each other, our purpose, and how to bring forth this impact. It’s like having your cake and eating it too.

Volunteering with Burn Bright stoked a fire in me – It helped me feel comfortable in myself and made me realise life isn’t just about work, study, or productivity, but our relationships and how we connect with others along the way.

I have learned skills in videography, worked for a top-tier corporation in marketing, and most recently published a book called “18 and lost? So were we” 

I have a passion for storytelling, bring loads of energy wherever I go, and am dedicated to helping young people move through the initiation of leaving high school and going into the ‘real world’. 

The best part for me is being able to stay connected to the latest generation growing through high school. To see them grow, expand and express more of themselves is like watching an artwork paint itself. It’s magic.

I am Simon Thurston, a Kiwi based in Perth. I work as an Instructional Designer and in my spare time I enjoy reading, running, and board games.

Since my initial connection to Burn Bright I have been onboard with their mission. Burn Bright’s focus on building the capabilities enables students of all ages to see how they can shape their world through connections with others and their own self discovery.

Seeing others grow, learn, and open up is what keeps me coming back, to help others realise their potential and how they can influence their future and their community is a definite highlight. It’s infectious, the atmosphere when they run a program or camp is welcoming, exciting, emotional, and rewarding all in one.



Hi, friends! I’m Kelsie, a psychologist from central QLD working in private practice. I got involved with Burn Bright officially in 2016, but the journey started long before that. I attended the National Leadership Camp (now hosted annually by Burn Bright) in 2009. It had such a profound impact on me that I returned as a mentor and volunteer. Those connections ultimately lead me to joining the Burn Bright team as an adult.

When I transitioned from facilitating with the Burn Bright team to working as a psychologist, I was so grateful for an incredible foundation of skills (particularly facilitation, communication and interpersonal skills) along with a strong grounding in positive psychology that Burn Bright integrates into their ethos.

I can’t imagine my life without volunteering for Burn Bright. I have met some of my dearest friends through the Burn Bright crew. I’ve found that volunteering for BB is rewarding, humbling, and often brings as much personal growth for the volunteer as it does for the young person.

From a professional perspective, I love that Burn Bright programs/camps support the adolescent individuation process by providing an exciting and supportive environment for teens to explore their own sense of self, personality, identify and values alongside other young people.

Imagine this POV: you’re back at school wanting to figure everything out and fit in – and you find
yourself in a room with amazing music that uplifts you and hooks you in. You meet the team of
dynamic, interesting, caring facilitators whose own friendships inspire you. Their facilitation skills bring about amazing light-bulb moments and lessons that light a fire inside you… It makes me want to feel that for myself again. The next best thing, for me, is volunteering for the team who passes that on to other young people.

My start at Burn Bright is one of the best cases of one door closing and another door opening. After losing my job at a local pub while on uni holidays, I started looking for new opportunities that were different and decided to volunteer. Searching for opportunities, I found working bees, community driving and nursing home visits, but the chance to become a National Leadership Camp intern stood out. Over nearly six months, I worked with the team to pull off Burn Bright’s first National Leadership Camp, and had an absolute blast in the process. After camp, I started working for Burn Bright while studying, doing anything and everything — data analysis, hiring strategy and even picking up furniture.

Finishing up working for Burn Bright in 2019, I am still actively involved with the Burn Bright volunteer community. I’ve found that the emphasis placed on investing in your relationships, understanding your values and making an impact allow you to be accepted for you. This has given me the tools needed to make the difficult decisions that life will inevitably throw at you. Besides all that, I’ve had a ton of fun and formed life-long friendships with people I may have never crossed paths with otherwise. “Get involved — you’ll change your life for the better and make life‑long friends in the process”.

I am a health science student from Perth wanting to get into the mental health realm of occupational therapy. In the meantime, I work as a barista and supervisor at a beachside café. In my spare time, I love to play netball, be around my friends and I have just gotten into crocheting. I went to Perth College where I was lucky enough to go to the first Perth College Leadership Camp in 2018 as a student and absolutely loved it. What really drew me in was the atmosphere that was created, the open conversations, and the lasting relationships formed.

Since then I have been a mentor for the Perth College Leadership Camp in 2019, 2020, and 2021 and had the opportunity to go to the National Leadership Camp in 2019. When Burn Bright comes to Perth I also love helping out at their programs as much as I can.

Volunteering for Burn Bright has given me so much that I could never have imagined. I have learned so much about myself and I have so much more confidence in myself and my abilities that I know I wouldn’t have had if I wasn’t exposed to the amazing opportunities volunteering for Burn Bright has given me. Before being involved I would never have seen myself being a mentor, role model, and facilitator to students, but now I can confidently say that I am, and I have made an impact on others that I am proud of. I have also made so many meaningful connections to so many amazing people from all around Australia through Burn Bright. I get asked quite a bit why I keep coming back to my old school to volunteer and it’s simply because I was given this amazing opportunity to be a part of the Burn Bright programs and if I can help facilitate that experience to someone else then why wouldn’t I?

I was born in Perth and moved to Sydney in my early 20’s to continue work as a youth worker and surfboard maker. This was followed by 30 years working in IT as a computer programmer.

Following retirement in 2016 I searched for an organisation that was aligned with my values of servant leadership and service, especially in the youth space. This search led to Burn Bright where I am now volunteering one day a week and mentoring at the National Leadership Camp. Volunteering with Burn Bright gives me a great deal of hope and confidence in the next generation of leaders. It is a pleasure to be a part of the Burn Bright family.

I have been married to Denise for 41 years and we both very much feel part of the Burn Bright team.

When not at Burn Bright you may find me running along Manly beach, riding my mountain bike or indulging in my passion for photography.











Hi! I’m Rosie, a 20-something full-time public servant, part-time Tassie tourism advocate.

I am passionate about seeing young people succeed, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than watching them become the next generation of change-makers.

I have been a champion of the ethos and work of Burn Bright since its inception in 2014, and consider them to be the leading experts in their field. By delivering impactful leadership and wellbeing programs to students across Australia, they offer the knowledge, skills and engagement to invoke lasting positive change in school communities.

The Burn Bright team are dedicated, inclusive and values-driven, which is why I love working with them.